Grant Joint Union High School District

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Grant Joint Union High School District was a high school district located in northern Sacramento County. It was considered an urban-suburban school district, serving, at its peak, approximately 12,000 students in grades 7 – 12. The district had nine comprehensive school sites—five junior high schools and four high schools.

On November 6, 2007, the Measure B was passed by voters to merge the Grant Joint Union High School district with the local elementary school districts, including Rio Linda, North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights. On July 1, 2008, they formed the Twin Rivers Unified School District that now serves about a total of 30,000 students.[1]

History of the Grant District[edit]

The dream of creating a new district to serve the students in the territory north of the American River began in 1931, when voters approved plans for the district with an overwhelming 750-25 vote. A bond, promoted through door-to-door canvassing by a citizen named William Rutherford, was passed by the taxpayers and the Grant Joint Union High School District was formed. First classes were held in the Hotel North Sacramento at the corner of Del Paso Blvd. and Arden

The enduring “can-do” spirit of Grant District and North Area neighborhoods has created educational programs, facilities and community resources that have continued to serve students families and communities—from building an Olympic-size community swimming pool in 1934, to starting the nation's first school-run radio program in 1940, to establishing a resident school for Aeronautical Training—Grant Tech—which would later become American River College.[2]

District Timeline[edit]

1931 – The District name “Grant” was chosen in honor of the Ben Ali Haggin land grant, when the famous racing stables were located in the area.

1932 – Grant Union High School opens and adopts the team name Pacers in honor of the horse racing heritage of the area

1939 – The Grant Wurlitzer organ was heard on-air for the first time, played by Grant alumnus George Wright, who would become the most famous theatre organist of the modern era.

1955 - Norte Del Rio High School opens

1958 – Highlands High School opens.

1962 – Rio Linda High School opens.

1965 – Foothill High School opens.

1994 - Foothill High School Boys Basketball Team wins the Boys Basketball State Championships

2002 – Grant Union High School’s Criminal Justice Academy wins a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association in the School to Career category.

2003 – Grant District teacher Virginia Avila is named one of the California Teachers of the Year and goes on to represent the state for the 2003 National Teacher of the Year competition.

2003 - Foothill High School wins its second Boys Basketball State Championship

2004 – The new Foothill High School stadium opens.

2005 – Grant District Superintendent Dr. Larry Buchanan is named California’s Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators.

2006 – The Rio Linda High School Aquatic Complex opens.

2007 - Measure B passes, merging Grant with Rio Linda, North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights school districts into the Twin Rivers Unified School District.

Notable Students and Staff[edit]

There have been several students and staff members of the Grant Joint Union High School district that have noteworthy status.

  • Virginia Avila - Grant Union High School Teacher - California Teacher of the Year 2003[3]
  • Larry M. Buchanan, Ed.D - California Superintendent of the Year 2005[4]
  • Sean Chambers - Highlands High School Class of 1983, Current Highlands High School Basketball Coach - Alaska Aces (PBA) star player[5]
  • Grantland Johnson - Grant Union High School graduate - Former California Secretary of Health and Human Services[6]
  • Dr. William H. Lee - Grant Union High School graduate - Owner/Publisher of The Sacramento Observer[7]
  • Rob Vernatchi - Grant Adult Education NCOA Referee Graduate - NFL Official (Field Judge)[8]
  • George Wright - Grant Union High School Graduate - Organist


  1. ^ Rosenhall, Laurel (November 7, 2007). "Historic school merger approved". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  2. ^ Gerald, Zenobia (August 2006). "Reaching a Milestone, 1931 to 2006". Grant Today. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Mary Lou (November 20, 2002). "Eastin Announces Five California Teachers of the Year 2003". California Department of Education News Release. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  4. ^ Bucceri, Elizabeth (September 16, 2005). "Superintendent of the Year". EdCal. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  5. ^ Davis, Regina (March 2004). "Where Are They Now?". Grant Today. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  6. ^ "Call for Unity". Sacramento News & Review. November 11, 2003. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  7. ^ "Dr. William H. Lee Biography". The Sacramento Observer. June 14, 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  8. ^ "Rob Vernatchi - NFL". Football Officials Camp, LLC. Retrieved 2007-06-25.